Treats for Christmas!
Just because Bubba’s on a diet doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy a goody now and then.
Earlier this week, I was in the kitchen making myself a turkey and cheese wrap, and guess who showed up to help?
He parked himself right at my feet, his face gazing upward, his whiskers twitching, his tail whipping. When the “meows” started, I knew I was in trouble.
Bubba has never been a beggar. In fact, he doesn’t even like human food — before his diet, that is. When we first adopted him, I offered him tuna-can leftovers, slices of grilled ahi and pieces of chicken after dinner. He always refused them, preferring his kibble to fresh fish or poultry.
Since I’ve decreased his daily rations, he’s been hanging out in the kitchen more and more, looking for a handout. I’ve even caught him counter surfing and scouring dirty dishes for crumbs.
So after I made my turkey and cheese wrap, I looked at the poor starving cat (yeah, right) and thought, What would it hurt to give him a little turkey treat? I sliced off a piece and presented it to him. He gobbled it down in a split second! He was so happy that he purred. And he doesn’t do that very often.
That started me thinking about treats. Is it bad to offer a dieting cat a treat? What kinds are healthy and satisfying to the cat? How do I feed Bubba treats and still make sure he loses weight?
Dr. Day from the Paradise Animal Clinic [www.paradiseanimalclinic.com] said that a cat Bubba’s size requires between 570 and 600 calories per day for maintenance. For weight loss, however, I’ve been feeding him about 500 calories per day. If I can keep within his 500-calorie intake while adding treats to his diet, he’ll be a happy cat!
The challenge, of course, is determining how many calories are in each treat.
So I pulled out Bubba and Benny’s bag of Feline Greenies and checked out the label on the back. Like Bubba’s everyday kibble, the bag lists the product’s guaranteed analysis, feeding instructions, ingredients, serving size and calories per serving.
One serving size — six of the little green breath-fresheners — contains a paltry 11 calories! Bubba’s getting some Greenies tonight!
As for other treats sold in pet stores, I tend to gravitate toward more natural selections, such as Halo Purely for Pets’ Liv-a-Littles (freeze-dried fish, chicken or beef) and Kitty Kaviar (dried bonito filets). The next time I’m at my local pet store, Del’s Feed and Farm Supply, I’ll check out the treat’s calorie content and decide whether I can add them to Bubba’s “cookie” jar.
When I come home with fresh fish from our local fish monger, both Bubba and Benny love the trimmings (sans the bones, of course), so I’ll keep offering them little bits along with their meals. Besides, the fresh raw fish is rich in omega 3- and 6 fatty acids, which are good for their coats and kidney functions, among other things.
“Diet” treats are available through mass merchants, but I’d rather give Bubba a lesser amount of a healthy full-calorie and full-fat goodie rather than one that does not contain natural ingredients or is full of things that don’t support his overall nutrition.
I do that with my own diet, so why would I do anything differently with Bubba’s?
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Treats for Christmas!